A violent felony will count as a strike under California’s Three Strikes Law
When it comes to criminal justice, one of the things that California is known for is its “Three Strikes” law. Under this law, if you have “three strikes,” then you will be subject to enhanced sentencing. But what exactly counts as a “strike” under California law?
According to a criminal defense lawyer Los Angeles County, CA, both serious felonies and violent felonies are considered “strikes” for purposes of the three strikes law. So how does California define a violent felony?
A violent felony includes the following charges:
- Murder or voluntary manslaughter;
- Oral Copulation;
- Lewd acts on a child under the age of 14 years;
- Any felony punishable by death or imprisonment in the state prison for life;
- Any felony in which the defendant inflicts great bodily injury on a person other than an accomplice, or any felony in which a defendant uses a firearm (both charged under certain California Penal Code sections);
- Any robbery;
- Sexual penetration;
- Attempted murder;
- Offenses related to destructive devices or explosives;
- Assault with the intent to commit a specified felony;
- Continuous sexual abuse of a child;
- Car jacking;
- Rape, spousal rape, or sexual penetration, in concert;
- Threats to victims or witnesses that would be a felony;
- Any burglary of the first degree where a person other than an accomplice was present in the residence;
- Offenses related to weapons of mass destruction; and
- A violation of the “use a gun and you’re done” law.
If a person has two prior convictions for violent felonies, he or she could be sentenced to a mandatory 25 years to life in prison if they are convicted of a third “serious” or “violent” felony. Under a prior version of the law, if the third strike was for any criminal offense, the mandatory 25 years to life sentence would be imposed. In 2012, the California Legislature amended that law to make it more just — bringing the sentencing scheme into the modern era and far more equitable. However, in many respects, it is still considered a flawed law that results in overly harsh punishments.
For example, consider a case where a man is convicted of a burglary. Someone is home when he breaks into the house, so it is considered a “violent felony.” Years later, after he has served his time, he is charged with robbery. But there is a twist — he used a gun during the robbery. Now he is charged with two separate offenses, and both are violent felonies. Under the three strikes law, the court is now required sentence him to 25 years to life in prison if he is found guilty of both counts. This is an example of how harsh this sentencing scheme can be.
If you have been charged with a serious or violent felony, one of the best options is to hire the best criminal defense lawyer Los Angeles County, CA that you can to defend you against the charges. Because California’s three strikes law has such harsh consequences, avoid a “strike” is crucial.
The Chambers Law Firm has substantial experience representing Californians on a range of charges, including for serious and violent felonies. Contact us today at 855-397-0210 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free initial consultation with a skilled criminal defense lawyer Los Angeles County, CA.